Not wanting the terrorism and increased crime that Europe is seeing, Japan vows to not take in even ONE Syrian ‘refugee’
Japan has no immediate plans to accept refugees from Syria, despite earlier pledging financial and political support for the military campaign against Islamic State.
As the EU, with Lebanon, Jordan and other countries, struggled to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people fleeing fighting in Syria and Iraq, governments thousands of kilometres away also pledged to take extra refugees.
On Wednesday Australia said it would accept an extra 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees, on top of its existing humanitarian intake of 13,750.
The Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, said his country would accept 20,000 Syrians who were “welcome to share this land of peace and contribute to our country’s development”.
Japan, however, said that although Tokyo was “cooperating” with its international partners over the crisis, it was not preparing to change its policy to accommodate Syrian refugees.
“We are watching the situation very closely and considering what Japan can do in cooperation with the international community, including the United Nations,” a foreign ministry official said.
“We are aware of the large exodus of refugees from the Middle East and Africa and that many lives have been lost. We’re paying close attention to appeals for assistance.”
Hiroaki Ishii, the executive director of the Japan association for refugees, said the government’s attitude could change.
“There are definitely discussions going on,” he told the Guardian.
Of 60 Syrians already living in Japan who had applied for refugee status, three had been successful and another 30 or so had been given permission to stay long-term for humanitarian reasons.
“Japan should be leading the Asia-Pacific region in addressing the refugee crisis,” he said.
“If Japan is serious about doing something out of humanitarian concern, it should announce a more generous policy towards Syrian refugees and other victims of Isis, including resettlement to Japan and better protection for the 400 Syrian people already living here.”
During a visit to Egypt in January, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, pledged US$200m in humanitarian aid for Middle East countries engaged in fighting Isis, a move that Isis said prompted its execution of two Japanese citizens after
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